Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday - Walk With Me

Weekend before last the temperature (with the heat index) at Clearwater Beach was 110 degrees F. Even for a beach gal like me that is just too darn hot! Summers in Florida you can usually find me in the hut sipping on sweet tea and dreaming of how nice it will be when late Fall arrives. In Florida the leaves don't turn beautiful shades of red and orange as they do in many places, but we know when Fall has arrived when we can once again open the windows.

We rarely have a reprieve from the heat until then — it doesn't cool off in the evenings. No kidding, when I wake up in the mornings at about 5am, the first thing I have to do is let the dog out in the yard and I swear, it's like opening your oven door. Now the temps we had were high, even for us, so when it felt like the thermometer had dropped a bit this past Sunday evening I ask my sis if she wanted to go for a swim. We squeezed into our suits and headed for the beach.

The Gulf water actually felt cool and for some reason we had a really nice breeze going on and waves. Yes, waves! Now don't get me wrong, they were nothing that any surfer was going to get excited about, but for me they were wonderful. Sis doesn't like any waves, so I spent about an hour in the water and she stayed on the shore.

Upon rising the next morning I thought I had better head down for a walk on the beach while the weather was being cooperative and take some pictures for Outdoor Wednesday. So, kick off your shoes and join me!

This morning I thought I would drive a couple of miles from my usual spot to a little town named Indian Rocks Beach. This is where we had our home before moving inland a couple of miles and I haven't been for a couple of months.

The water looked so inviting, but since I had my camera with me, there would be no swimming this morning. By the time I reached my destination it was already about 7:30am and the sun was high in the sky.

Just look at the wave action we were getting {giggling}. Really though, unless there is a storm coming, this is high for us.


These beautiful birds are Black Skimmers and this is the time of year they are nesting at our local beaches. They nest in large colonies, so I was excited to see these two out skimming for breakfast. They nest right in the sand, so to protect the eggs their areas are roped off to the public. I didn't spot any nesting sites, but I'm sure they are massing down South a few miles at the Suncoast Bird Sanctuary. I'll drive over there in a few days and check it out.

The next group I come across are White Ibis. They use their long, downcurved bills to probe the wet sand for crustacceans. These birds also nest in large colonies and are born with dark feathers, which turn completely white in adulthood.

Here's a closer shot, you can see that the birds here are used to sharing the beach with people and are not easily frightened away. As long as you walk slowly, they will allow you to get close enough for a good shot.


Here I have all my ducks, I mean birds in a row. I love seeing the birds and the people wading in the water, waiting to see what the day will bring.

This large photo is of a Great Egret and the inset is a Snowy Egret. Know how to tell the difference? The Great Egret has a yellow bill and black feet, the Snowy Egret has a black bill and yellow feet! They are both members of the Heron family with the Snowy Egret growing to about two feet tall and the Great Egret to about three feet. Not pictured here is the Great White Heron and you can tell the difference from the egrets by again checking bills and feet — a Great White Heron has a yellow bill, yellow legs and yellow feet. (I thought it was really sweet the the Snowy Egret raised its leg so you could see the yellow foot.) Sorry, I didn't get a closer shot, but if you click on the picture you will see a larger version.


Next is the Great Blue Heron, they are probably the least afraid of humans of all our bird species and are usually waiting for the local fishermen to give them the "little" ones.


The birds weren't the only ones at the beach this morning searching for food.


Heading back I see that the Railroad Vine is in bloom. For all those gardeners out there you will notice that they are in the Morning Glory Family. Aren't they beautiful growing in the sand?
Don't you just love sea oats, gracefully blowing with the wind, bowing their heads to the sea and all the while protecting our shores from storms. There is a huge fine if you get caught cutting sea oats here!


My last look before heading off the beach showed these two beach umbrellas. I knew it was time to relinquish the beach to the sun-worshipers and the little children building sandcastles.

Next I headed across the street to the Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve, but I'm going to save that for next week's post. Stay tuned.

FYI, I'm getting into a nice blogging groove these days and I'm posting more, so stop back when you have the time and check out my Monday post of vintage beach photos — one is from 1922 and the other is a theatrical poster from 1898. I'm going to be doing this every Monday. Yesterdays post is more on beach huts, cabanas, and tents that Maya started on her two lovely blogs. Wait until you see these Jersey Shore tents, you won't believe it!

Finally, I love visiting all y'all on Outdoor Wednesdays and I don't get to respond to your questions and comments until later that day or the next morning. Last week I decided to update my posting with Reflections on Outdoor Wednesday and I'm sure I'll be doing that this week also. If your interested you can come back later this week and check it out and read last weeks here. A number of you are mentioned and Rose posted a heartfelt poem in her comment that fit perfectly, so I posted it in the update. If you saw something you think I would like to know about, please let me know in the comment section. There are so many participants I can't get to everyone and I know many of you are the same way, but I'm always afraid I'll miss something spectacular!

Now wash the sand off your feet, put your shoes back on and head on over to Susan's at A Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts!

35 Thoughtful Comments:

Hootin' Anni said...

Stunning....I never tire of photos like these, and I live on the Gulf too!!

My Wordful is all about something that was 'taken from our yard'. But at our request. Happy Wednesday to you.

mbkatc230 said...

What a beautiful beach tour! I loved all the bird pictures, and the water looks gorgeous! I love the railroad vine. I've always thought they were beautiful, but didn't know the name. I always just called them "beach glories" Thanks for stopping by my little town, glad you liked it. It really is a great place to live, just wish is was on the beach and then it would be PERFECT! Kathy

Sunshinemeg said...

I love the Great Blue Heron. My fiances mom lives in Sarasota and has one that comes around her house, called Sneaky! Like the pictures and wish I was sitting on the shore right now.

Regina said...

Hi Rhonda. This is beautiful.
Great shots.

CrazyCris said...

What lovely shots of those birds! Looked like a beautiful day to be out and about!
Hmm... your "Railroad Vine" looks a lot like a wild flower we get hereabouts, the Latin is Convolvulus vulgaris (first shot in my post:
http://crazycrishereandthere.blogspot.com/2009/05/may-flowers.html

Ouch! Your description of the heat there reminds me of my I really didn't like South Florida when we lived there! (10 months in Plantation) So hot and muggy, ugh!

Oooh... I was thinking of your earlier post yesterday, my Dad sent me a forward, a word file, with a story on the Royal Cabanna used by King Alfonso XIII at the turn of the century in the beach of San Sebastian! When I'm done with the Hogueras I'll adapt it and dedicate a post for you, the pics included in it are great!

Kristine said...

You captured some really great pictures. I would have loved to have been there with you!

Kristine

Susan said...

Awesome Shots! I adore the beach...you captured the birds beautifully. I cant wait to get to the beach this year...it always seems to recharge my battery!

The Fajdich Times said...

I just loved all the pictures. Wow....what beauty! I can almost smell the air and feel the warm sun. As I wipe the sand off my feet and get back to work. Thanks for a lovely time.

pk @ room remix said...

I could look at these photos all day. We don't see things like this in Minnesota! :-)

Blue Creek Home said...

You need to start selling postcards or framed prints of these photos. They are just stunning.
Rhonda

Mary said...

What spectacular water views. Your photos are lovely. Thank you for sharing them with us. Have a wonderful day and enjoy the holiday weekend.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Hahah! reading the comments from folks who hate living in the heat to folks who, like me would love to be able to drive off to see the ocean on any given day makes me laugh at how fickle we all are.

Great shots... nice blog.

TTFN~~Claudia ♥

Rain said...

Oh Rhonda, thank you for the tour of the beach and the outstanding photos of the birds!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved it! Makes me appreciate our short 4 months of warm weather up here in my village! I was really busy with the photo club, if you'd like to check it out, the link is on my blog...it's fun if you'd like to join! So I won't be participating this week in Outdoor Wednesday, but you've got my interest peaked, so next week for sure!!! Thanks again for the lovely walk on the beach!

Mari at Once Upon a Plate said...

Wow! What a stunning blog ~ great job Rhonda.

This set of photos are so peaceful and relaxing, like a mini vacation!
Thank you for sharing. xo~m.

MzzLily said...

Always loved the dunes with the sea oats! I can hear the surf when I close my eyes! Today we have unusually cool temps. High in the 60s! Yippee!

stefanie said...

what a beautiful post, thanks for sharing, happy ow. looks like you cooled off for a while

Maya said...

Thanks for taking me to this great beach..., dipping my toes in the ocean and watching the birds. Honestly... I could feel that warm breeze!

Mary @ Framed and Tagged said...

Thanks for the tour...makes me want to pick up and go to the beach somewhere.
Happy OW!!

debbie said...

HAPPY OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY AND FOURTH OF JULY.
I loved the awesome pictures of the ocean...it was almost like being there....I had my spray bottle of water and I sprayed my face so I could feel the splashes of the waves...lol
I loved the pictures of the birds and I didn't know they nested in the sand
I enjoyed my day at the beach
Angel hugs
debbie

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of the water and the birds. Also, thanks for stopping in to for the train trip.

Christi @ A Southern Life said...

What a wonderful walk on the beach. Thanks for taking the pics and showing us all of the beauty!

Christi

Crystal said...

Oh what stunning photos. I learned alot about the birds too. That is the great thing about Blogland, you learn new things everyday.
We drove over to Clearwater Beach and down the coast, last year. My teens were absolutely amazed that there were no waves and the water was so crystal clear.
Thanks for sharing and stopping by to visit me. Now do be a stranger and stop back soon. I will stop back and visit you too.
Crystal

Kim said...

I love all the birds. And now I know how to tell them apart. Here in southern California we mostly just have seagulls & pelicans. I've never seen any of the beautiful birds you've shown at any of our beaches. I've only been to Florida once & went to the Atlantic, not the Gulf. But the water in the Atlantic is much warmer than the Pacific. And it gets hot here, but nothing like the heat & humidity you get there in Florida. And I'm so glad. Thanks for visiting my blog & leaving me a comment.

irene said...

Really enjoyed your beach outing and the fantastic commentary. The heron looks so tall.

Shari @ My Cottage of Bliss said...

Your beautiful beach photos remind me it has been way too long since I've spent any time out there. I'm only 30 mintues away so that's really a shame. I love to position my chair right at the shoreline so the water gently laps at my feet. Yep, I think I need a day at the beach...soon!

Ebie said...

Hi,Shellbelle, thanks for the visit. Yes, I am close to Studio City, and Jinky's is still there, though I have not been there yet. Your series of photos are just stunning. I love the waves and the birds. I have no luck taking their photos, because they are just so elusive. This is my second entry on OW, and I hope participate more often and meet other bloggers.

Martha said...

Great shots! First it was the heat and now the rain. We sure did need it, but everything always has to be to extremes here in Florida! Stay dry :-)

Peg @ Bloomfield Farm said...

I really liked your post today. We often see birds like this on our farm ponds. I'll have to start looking at their beak and feet colors and refer to your post to see what they are. I just call them herons but someone corrected me, saying they are egrets... sounds like both are correct since you explained that egrets are part of the heron family. Very informative!

On your comment earlier about Safari turning dark: I've noticed that while the new version is loading a page, there is a loading bar in the header and the screen does go a bit dark. But as soon as the entire page loads, the screen brightens back up again. I think it's designed that way to let you know it's finished loading. However, with all the extras like music and tons of big photos on some blogs, things could take a while. Plus, if Safari 4 has a problem, you KNOW Apple will have a fix soon!

RobinfromCA said...

I love your pictures of the shore birds! The beach is my very favorite place to relax and your blog is so much fun to visit!

Thanks for stopping by on Outdoor Wednesday!
Robin@Miscellaneous Thoughts

Suzy said...

REALLY enjoyed the visit to the beach! Love the focus on the birds. I could watch them all day. Thanks for bringing us along.

abeachcottage said...

wow, I've never seen birds like that on our beach!

great pics, happy outdoor wednedsay

enjoyed my visit today

Sarah

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I never knew the difference between the Great Egret and the Snowy Egret. Pretty fascinating!! Now...if I actually remember the difference (yellow bill? or yello feet? LOL!) that will be a miracle.

We have a Great Blue Heron -- just one -- that hangs out on the lake behind the house behind us. It's kind of funny...because the lake is sort of an icky urban lake (for lack of a better decsriber....the shore house straddles the beach and Asbury Park which is more urban) so to see this bird hanging out there with the buildings in the background is a hoot. I need to catch a photo of him one these days.

Ann said...

Wow I love these pictures of the beach...I love going to the beach...I am going to follow your blog...

Lou said...

Rhonda..
thought I'd check your blog..
very nice ..quite informative..
I am a native Floridian, from Pensacola..I DID live in Ventura California,,eons ago! The Pacific is quite cold,,and I got globs of oil goo on my feet! YUK!
Did you ever watch the grunion run?
we'll save that for another post!
I'm following you now..
♥smiles from cool Denver CO!
ps..I've not run the AC at all this year!

DellaRae said...

I was missing the beach yesterday and feeling sorry for myself that I was not there for the holiday.....then I found you this morning. What a great way to start my day. You made this Florida girl feel the salt spray on her face.

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!

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